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The Independent Online
Put in Brussels sprout plants. Choose plants that have been grown in the open ground, if possible. They make straighter, tougher plants than seedlings grown in trays. Split up large clumps of primrose and polyanthus, tearing the clumps apart into several separate crowns with roots. Replant the pieces in fresh ground with a handful of bonemeal to speed them on their way.

Seeds of either can also be sown now in pots of compost. Cover the pots with inverted empty pots which will let in enough light and air for the seeds to germinate but which will prevent the compost from drying out too fast.

Cut out frost-damaged or dead wood from abutilons. These fast-growing shrubs often get too big for the space allotted to them. You can keep them under control by cutting back two-thirds of each new shoot any time over the next month.

Pieris can also be cut down to size if necessary after they have finished flowering as they usually break quite easily from old wood. Thin out congested clumps of bamboo now by cutting away some of the old canes at the base. Clip away scorched leaves from bay trees growing in pots and refresh the compost by scraping away the top couple of inches and replacing it with fresh material. Feed bay trees regularly through the summer.

Continue to sow annuals where they are to flower outside.

After a night's rain had conveniently damped down the soil, I put in two packets of eschscholzia, the Californian poppy, 'Thai Silk Mixed' (Johnsons, 99p) and 'Thai Silk Pink Shades' (Thompson & Morgan , pounds 1.19).

However, having now seen Rupert Golby's garden at the Chelsea Flower Show, I wish that I had scattered them among the leeks, instead of being so conventional and putting them in the flowerbed.

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